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“ a wasteful, idle, good-for-nought, that be always consuming my substance or mis-spending my time; I would I were well rid of him. Francis, I say ! Here have I been bawling about the house for the better part of an hour searching for him — the graceless vagrant. Francis !” Thus he went on, growling and grumbling, and poking into every hole and corner, with a physiognomy most unnaturally crabbed, and a voice feeble and shrewish. At last he sat himself down on the stool, laid aside his stick, and began examining the loose papers on the desk; first putting on a pair of cracked spectacles, to assist his sight. Besides being short and old—that is, of some sixty years or more-he was of a marvellous spare body; and his sharp nose and pointed chin, small eyes and saturnine complexion, did not appear to more advantage, surrounded by a scanty beard that had become quite grizzled by age. His attire was of the homeliest-nay, it gave evidence of more than ordinary thrift--for his trunks were patched, and his hose were darned, and his shoes would have looked all the better had they been indebted to the craft of the cordwainer. As for his doublet, it was of a most ancient fashion, and though the cloth was originally a Lincoln green, it had become, by long use, and exposure to all sorts of weathers, more resembling the dingy hue of a smoked rafter.
As he scrutinised the papers, he broke out into such vehement ejaculations as these.
6. This account not finished ! Here's a villainous neglect of my interests! Here's a shameful contempt of my authority! Here's flat contradiction and horrible ingratitude ! Oh, the abominable and most pestilent knave! whilst he eats me out of house and home--costs me a world and all in tailoring and other charges-he leaveth my business to take care of itself. But what have we here?” he exclaimed, as he commenced examining a paper that had evidently been concealed amongst the others. 6. Verses, or I'm a heathen !” cried he in a tone of consternation. “ Nay, if he takes to such evil courses, it must needs come to hanging.” Whilst he was intent upon perusing with angry exclamations the contents of the object that had excited his displeasure, he suddenly felt a hand upon his shoulder, and turning round with no small degree of alarm impressed upon his unamiable features, he observed a young female — by her dress probably of the middle ranks. She wore on the back of her head a small velvet hat, from under which escaped several long dark tresses, that, parted in the front, set off to great advantage a right comely face, of a very rich complexion, which was made infinitely more attractive by a pair of delicate dark hazel eyes, peculiarly seductive in their ex
pression. Her age might be somewhat beyond twenty; for her form was fully rounded, and moulded into the most excellent proportions, which were admirably apparelled in a neat boddice anda dainty farthingale. In truth, she was a damsel possessed of all the perfections of womanhood.
“ You sweet rogue, how you frightened me!” exclaimed the old man; the surprise and alarm he had exhibited in his countenance now giving place to pleasure and admiration, as he gazed upon the smiling beauty before him.
* But what hath so put your temper into vital jeopardy, good Gregory Vellum ?” asked she coaxingly, as she leaned over his shoulder, seemingly the better to observe the writing he held in his hand.
Marry, matter enough, sweetest,” replied he; 6 that undutiful and most hardened reprobate, my nephew-a plague on all parents that cannot provide for their own offspring, say I-unmindful of the great expenses he hath put me to, not only leaves my business unattended whenever I am not watching his movements, but passeth the times he should employ for my advantages in destroying my paper, pens, and ink, in scribbling a whole host of pernicious verses."
“Oh, the profligate!” cried the other, as if marvelling greatly; but still stretching out her pretty neck to see what was written on the paper.
“ I am glad to find that you regard his atrocious wickedness with a proper detestation,” repeated the other. “But that be not the worst of his villainy. Only think of the pestilent varlet robbing me of these fine bits of candle, which in my search for him a moment since I found secreted away in his chamber.” And thereupon, with a look of terrible indignation, he brought out of his vest, carefully wrapt up in an old rag, three candle-ends, each about an inch long.
“ What wonderful iniquity !” exclaimed she, giving a hasty glance at the contents of the rag, and then again quickly fixing her gaze upon the paper.
“ Ay, that is it with a vengeance,” replied the old man. “ Now, he stealeth these pieces of candle -a murrain on him for his abominable dishonestyand burneth them when I, his too indulgent uncle, am fast asleep; and there he sits, wearing out the night in studying a most unprofitable lot of heathenish books. But take this trumpery and read it, Mistress Joanna, for he writes such an unnatural fine hand that my poor eyes ache with looking at it."
The fair Joanna took the paper somewhat eagerly, and without a second summons or a word of reply, stood before the old man, and, as he wiped his spectacles and put them away, and carefully folded up
the candle ends, she read what follows.
A RIGHT EARNEST EXPOSTULATION:
ADDRESSED TO HER WHO WILL BEST UNDERSTAND IT.
Having so oft and fondly sung thy praise,
I find I cannot thy defects pourtray;
But censures not: it knoweth not the way.
Thy goodness towards me doth seem to halt;
Which pain me much-yet know I not thy fault ; For ev'ry day thou heapest on me wrongs Find'st thou a perfeet creature in my songs.' Wherefore is this ?—'Tis thus-no long time since
Each day, each hour, each moment found me blest; All the fond love thy nature could evince,
All the sweet goodness of thy gentle breast,
As a rude heathen who to stock and stone
Prostrates his soul in worship—when he knows THE TRUTH that reigns almighty and alone,
He evermore with the true worship bows; My idols I cast down, and knelt and prayed Where, I knew well, my hopes of Heaven were laid.
Then bountifully were thy blessings showered;
And I, the sole receptacle they sought, Have known my grateful spirit overpowered
'Neath the ighting burthens thou hast brought, Oft didst thou say thou could'st love none but me; And much I strived to be worthy thee.